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The Commission on the Status of Women Has Started!

17 March 2016
On Saturday 12 March, WILPF US held a training for their young women leaders. Photo credit: WILPF.

After much preparation and anticipation, the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is finally here! The exhilaration and exhaustion, wildness and wondrousness of CSW has begun.

This weekend, WILPF US held a training for their young women leaders and long-standing activists programme, where WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will Director, Ray Acheson, and WILPF’s PeaceWomen Director, Abigail Ruane briefed.

The WILPF Integrated Approach, Women’s Empowerment, and Sustainable Development

Ray Acheson introduced participants to the WILPF Integrated Approach to peace and security. She explained how gendered assumptions about brave, rational, risk-taking, masculine actors are defined in opposition to weak, emotional, feminine others, and how these unequal relations of power facilitate militarism and violence.

She shared information from the work of WILPF’s Disarmament programme on the humanitarian impact of small arms and light weapons and action to cut military spending, stop killer robots, and ban nuclear weapons.

Abigail Ruane shared information about the work of WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security programme on strengthening a holistic approach to the Women, Peace and Security that builds on the 2015 Global Study recommendations to reduce militarisation and ensure women’s substantive political participation and rights across the conflict spectrum.

She introduced participants to the Commission on the Status of Women as an entity founded around the dual purpose of being both as “sparkplug for women’s interests” and also a means of mainstreaming gender equality more broadly. She shared how this year’s priority theme, on women’s empowerment and sustainable development, is a critical part of conflict prevention and moving from a political economy of war to a political economy of peace. “It is time to move from commitments to accomplishments.”

Discussion highlighted the importance of strengthening solidarity to address all forms of militarism, exploitation and violence, including based race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, ability, and otherwise.

Participants met old friends and new ones, shared information, and planned action.

WILPF Events at CSW

This week, we are looking forward to our main events:

We are also looking forward to our other supported events:

To see our full agenda, check out PeaceWomen’s overview of WPS events at CSW here.

Get Involved!

Hope to see you at one of our events, or follow along with you on social media with our hashtags #UNSCR1325, #CSW60 and @WILPF @Peace_Women.

How is your experience at CSW or following CSW going so far? Please share your experience in the comments below or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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